Preliminary data from the US Geological Survey shows that shipments of Portland and blended cement in 1Q13 were marginally higher compared to the same period of last year but harsh weather conditions, particularly in the final month of the quarter, dragged on sales.
While the construction industry benefited from the mild winter weather in the first quarter of last year, 2013 shipments between January-March 2013 edged ahead by 0.6 per cent to 15.37Mt from 15.28Mt in 1Q12.
Shipments for the year through to February 2013 were 9.6Mt, up by nearly three per cent. However, winter conditions in March 2013 proved to be exceptionally colder in some regions compared to the particularly mild weather patterns experienced in March 2012. As such, March 2013 shipments fell by 2.9 per cent to 5.086Mt compared to 5.98Mt in the same month of the year before.
The cold weather in March 2013 was concentrated in the Eastern Half of the US, particularly the northeast. These differing weather effects were evidenced in HeidelbergCement’s first quarter results as the German major said that the long, cold winter particularly on the East Coast and in the Midwest of the USA impacted results however, deliveries were supported not only by improved market conditions but also favourable weather in the west.